Irmgard Flügge-Lotz

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Flügge-Lotz in 1970

Irmgard Flügge-Lotz, née Irmgard Lotz (16 July 1903 - 22 May 1974) was a German mathematician and engineer, best known for her work on the mathematics of aerodynamics, and for being the first female engineering professor at the Stanford University.

Life[edit]

Lotz was born in Hamelin, Germany on 16 July 1903.[1] After her father, Osark, a travelling journalist,[2] was drafted for military service in World War I, the young Irmgard helped the family by becoming a math tutor. By high school and through college, she practically supported her family single-handedly. In college she was often the only woman in her class. In 1929 she earned a doctorate in engineering, but she had a tough time getting engineering jobs. Lotz went to work for the Aerodynamics Institute in Göttingen. After she solved a peculiarly thorny equation pertaining to wing lift distribution called the "Lotz-Methode" (Lotz-Method), Lotz was promoted to team leader. In 1938, she married Wilhelm Flügge, a civil engineer, and the pair moved first to Berlin and later to the small town of Saulgau.

After World War II, there was no need for the Flügges to undergo a denazification investigation, and they moved to France, and later to the United States, where they taught at Stanford. Flügge-Lotz started new engineering courses dealing with the mathematics of aerodynamics. She worked on what she called "discontinuous automatic control," which laid the foundation for automatic on-off aircraft control systems in jets. In spite of suffering debilitating arthritis, Flügge-Lotz continued her engineering research even through retirement.

Flügge-Lotz died in Stanford Hospital on 22 May 1974 after a long illness.[1]

Works[edit]

  • Die Erwärmung des Stempels beim Stauchvorgang, Dissertation TH Hannover 1929
  • Discontinuous Automatic Control, Princeton University Press 1953[3]
  • Discontinuous and Optimal Control, McGraw Hill 1968

Bibliography[edit]

  • J. R. Spreiter & W. Flügge, Irmgard Flügge-Lotz in Louise S. Grinstein (Editor), Paul J. Campbell (Editor) (1987). Women of Mathematics: A Bio-Bibliographic Sourcebook. Greenwood Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-313-24849-8.  p. 33-40

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Spreiter, John R.; Van Dyke, Milton D. and Vincenti, Walter G. "Irmgard Flügge-Lotz" (pdf). Memorial Resolution. Stanford University. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  2. ^ Cooper, Julie; Banderas, Maria (May 1977). "Irmgard Flugge-Lotz". Biographies of Women Mathematicians. Agnes Scott College. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  3. ^ Bellman, R. (1954). "Review: Discontinuous automatic control, by I. Flügge-Lotz". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 60 (4): 401–402. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1954-09831-2. 

External links[edit]

This article incorporates material from Irmgard Flügge-Lotz on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.